When They Speak Israel
A Guide to Clarity in Conversations about Israel
Ever felt uncomfortable talking with someone about Israel/Palestine?
Ever get stuck not knowing how to respond to a statement or question about Israel?
When They Speak Israel is a guide that dissects messaging we hear in the press and from politicians. It unpacks these messages into concepts we can all understand and translates them into English!
Finally, this guide provides queries for you and a conversation partner to think about as you learn about each other, build a relationship, and discuss this important topic that affects American foreign and domestic policies.
Best wishes as you learn to engage in conversations When They Speak Israel.
“That comment is so anti-Semitic.”
“Why are you singling out Israel?”
“Do you believe Israel has a right to exist?”
Having conversations about the state of Israel is difficult. Many consider conversations about politics impolite. Even worse, many conflate criticism of the state of Israel with criticism of Jews. No one wants to be called anti-Semitic.
Unfortunately, Americans are losing a lot by not having these conversations. Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign aid. The US military has reported that US support for Israeli policies hurts our anti-terrorism efforts. In recent decades, the United States has also defended Israel with most of its UN Security Council vetoes, protecting Israel from condemnation for its human rights violations. We have gone so far to protect Israel that we have passed state laws to limit free speech and how we teach world history to American children. To have a healthy democracy, Americans need to be able to discuss issues that affect our pocketbooks, our safety, and especially our rights.
When They Speak Israel bridges the gap between people who are concerned about Israeli policies and those who defend Israel’s actions. Use the tips in this guide to avoid stepping on conversational mines, to develop listening skills, and to build understanding relationships.
Peace is not possible without conversations. When They Speak Israel is a tool to get conversations started.
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About the Author
Alex McDonald has researched and worked on the Israel/Palestine issue since the early 2000s. He is a founder of the Texas Coalition for Human Rights and has been an education advocate for teaching about the history and conflict in the region.